Idle No More organizers are requesting action against the racism that was directed at and inflicted upon a peaceful protest in Montreal. On the anniversary of the 1763 Royal Proclamation, the Montreal police took down and destroyed a tipi that community members had set up as part of the Idle No More Global Day of Action. According to witnesses, police did not attempt any negotiations and moved into the camp, pushing aside a group of Aboriginal women who were gathered around the tipi. Idle No More organizer Melissa Mollen-Dupris describes the event:
“We began our Ceremony next to the Palais des Congrès, due to pouring rain. They told us we had to relocate across to the park, due to a request by the Palais des Congrès. Since the Ceremony had already started, we requested to them [the police] on our mic to not shove the Elders if the police decided 15 minutes was too long for us to do our ceremony. However, the police persisted we had to move immediately. We still had not finished our ceremony but moved as promised. The tension from then on was high. We told the police the tipi we set up was not a shelter, but that it was symbolic. About a dozen officers grabbed the tipi, and shoved us when we opposed and attempted to protect the tipi. This is unacceptable. We were warned we would get expelled at 11:00pm from the park. Since we are peaceful, we agreed to leave so that no one would get hurt or have their stuff taken away. We kept in good spirits, but the sadness was shared amongst each other”.
There is much irony in the fact that police equated the Indigenous protesters to Occupy, stating they were concerned the protest would turn into another Occupy camp. This clearly demonstrates a lack of acknowledgment that this protest took place on Mohawk territory, or that the Idle No More movement is a resistance to centuries of ongoing occupation, colonial violence and racial oppression from the settler society. As well, the police invoked municipal rules to overthrow recognized Indigenous inherent rights, in order to end a peaceful demonstration. (Photo credit Fanny Aishaa)
The Montreal Police Services (SPVM) executive and personnel claim to be united around three fundamental values rooted in the SPVM’s mission.
1)Respect: Respect means behaving and treating others with consideration and dignity and remaining open to differences.
2)Integrity: Integrity is the quality of someone who exercises their profession with rectitude, honesty and fairness.
3)Commitment: Commitment means being wholly dedicated to the organization’s mission and taking personal responsibility for all involved roles and duties.
Please contact the SPVM to register your complaint. Let the SPMV know that racism will not be tolerated and must be dealt with in all policing services and other institutions across Canada. It is their duty and obligation to educate themselves and be aware of, respect and uphold Indigenous inherent rights.
Headquarters (514) 393-1133 .
Service de police de la Ville de Montréal
1441, rue Saint-Urbain
Montréal (Québec) H2X 2M6
Idle No More Communications Team